Aqueduct Racetrack has earned re-accreditation from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance, the organization announced March 14.
Located in New York City's Borough of Queens, the track is in the midst of its 79-day winter/spring meet, which runs through April 27, and is highlighted by Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) day April 5.
Aqueduct's re-accreditation followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Aqueduct received its initial Alliance accreditation in 2009, the Alliance's first year. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
During the latest Alliance inspection of Aqueduct, best practices were identified in virtually every primary area of focus for the Alliance.
"All of the New York Racing Association tracks, including Aqueduct, continue to meet or exceed industry standards in the most critical areas pertaining to safety and integrity," said Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
In the area of injury reporting and prevention, best practices identified included the reporting of injuries and fatalities, pre- and post-race veterinary examinations, and the use of an injury review committee.
In areas intended to create a safer racing environment, best practices cited at Aqueduct included equine ambulance staffing, equipment and protocols; substance abuse and addiction treatment, with special commendation given for the establishment of a sober living dormitory, and testing of licensees; racing surface maintenance protocols; and sufficient security and support personnel for paddock safety.
Regarding the health and safety of jockeys, best practices recognized included sufficient rider medical care and ambulance support; protocols for post parade or starting gate scratches; Jockey Health Information System protocols; and minimum accident medical expense coverage ($1 million) for all jockeys
In the area of equine drug testing and penalties, best practices identified included exogenous anabolic steroids regulation and shockwave therapy regulation and protocols.